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    From the Ashes – Part Three

    After repositioning Reagan’s feet toward the foot of the bed, she sat sentinel while Reagan slept. Bette inventoried the similarities between mother and daughter. Besides the same hair and eyes, they both had second toes longer than their big ones. So cute. Still a work in progress, but Bette could see on most days the loving soul Avery instilled in Reagan.

    You’d be so proud of her, Avery. She’s growing up to be so much like you.

    She rubbed Reagan’s back and whispered. “I’m proud of you, too.”

    Regan stirred and mumbled, “Huh?”

    “Nothing, honey. Go back to sleep.”

    Gentle snores signaled Bette could safely move again. The dream of standing on the deck with Avery in her arms had come back to her. The kiss felt real, yet, it didn’t. Glancing at the alarm clock across the room, the time read 4:06. Too early to get ready for work, but the jarring effects of the dream had her too awake to go back to sleep. Maybe some tea would lull her brain back to a restful state.

    Drawing the covers back, she swung her feet to the floor. Moments later, illumination from the small red and white dots of various electronic devices in the living room guided Bette into the kitchen. After microwaving water in a mug, she added a small bag of chamomile, dipping it several times to diffuse the tea. When she turned toward the couch clutching her mug, something tugged at her. She turned back, this time toward the dining room.

    After sliding the glass door open and stepping out to the deck, the chilly bay breeze cut right through her. She laid her cup on a small table before walking over to the storage bench wedged against the far railing. She opened the lid. When she lifted the top blanket, beneath it lay a gray wool sweater Avery wore when the cold, damp air got to her.

    More of her dream came back. Remembering when she wrapped her arms around Avery, her wife had worn this sweater. She dropped the blanket and grabbed it instead. When memories of Avery wrapped inside this thing flashed in her mind, she brought it to her nose and inhaled the familiar scent of fresh lavender. But how? After sitting in the storage bin for months in the salty air collecting dust, how could it still smell like Avery had just worn it?

    When she put the sweater on, the wool fibers warmed her. She latched on to both lapels and brought them to her nose, inhaling again.

    “Avery, you were here.” When she said that, the wool in the sleeves tickled the skin on her arms as if Avery had wrapped her arms around her.

    After picking up the cup of tea, she leaned her elbows on the deck railing. The mug heated her fingers while she gazed at the dark bay waters. Uncharacteristically clear, the night sky revealed the brightest stars outshining the city lights.

    “I’ll never forget you, Avery Santos” she repeated the words from her dream. A sip of tea warmed her throat and stomach, then the wool tickled her arms again.

    ‘Go to her. She loves you,’ Avery’s voice whispered in her ear or in her head.

    “I will,” she whispered back. With those final words, Bette was free. Free to follow her heart. Free to love Tina the way they both deserved.

     

    Comments

    1. still a few chaptrs from end of this book and a thought keeps disturbing my peace….do B&T have a protection plan for Rachel?? And Tina’s folks?? And Eric?

      Surely, they expect A-Hole head of the cartel to retaliate,and set about to do it quickly????

      Hmmmmm. . . back to this cliffhanger!!!

      • DumplinT, My dad was my role model. He’s gone now, but he left me with his tenacity, strength, and zest for life. I wanted to weave that concept into this story. Reagan is a blend of heart and courage, a product of being raised by a parent of the same traits. So glad you’re enjoying the story.

    2. I love Bette & Reagan together!

      Glad that Reagan likes Tina and was honest about that the fact she missed to see Bette and her mother together. But she gives Tina a fair chance and i love her for that.

      Bette is finally free to love Tina, yes!!! To love someone new after you lost your spouse will not say you will ever forget them, you will always have them in your heart.

      I hope the family of Tina and Reagan have protection, it is eye for a eye, they are in danger and i hope that Bette and Tina, but their bosses as well realize that and made sure that they took care of that.

      Great chapter, looking forward to the next one!

      • Bibi28, Grieving the loss of a spouse is so different from grieving the loss of a parent or a sibling. You can never find another mother or sister, but you can find another love. For some people, like Bette in this story, romantic love doesn’t come easy, but when it does, it’s for a lifetime. Coming to grips with the idea she also found it in Tina was jarring and took time to sort things out. Any other way just wouldn’t do the story justice. So glad you like the story.

    3. Hi! Thank you for the new part!

      So, Reagan and Tina’s father need protection?

      I like Reagan behavior towards Tina during the dinner, but i don’t like Bette’s towards her during this part. If you not ready – don’t tease. Because this push-pull game it’s just not right. Not mention that fall to sleep during first sex time – not the best start.

      But maybe in next part things ready to change? We’ll see.

      • Zhenya, How does one really know when they’re ready after grieving the loss of a spouse? The pull these two feel is strong and they’re inching closer. Personally, I’d rather have a few starts-stops, than have regrets. Thanks so much for reading.

    4. Thanks for this chapter. CN. I had to slow down myself while reading. I was rushing through the pages fearing that something bad would happen. The extraction of Rosa going wrong, Eric being shot or worse Tina, Tina being captured or killed while taking the trash out. The tension is really getting to me.
      I hope that with Quintrell’s help they’ll be able to get El Padrino before one of his goons gets to Tina or Bette or any family member.

      Are you going to post on the Easter weekend or do you take a break? Please give us a nice Easter Egg :-)

      • kiwipit, My goodness, that was quite the compliment, having to slow yourself down. Buckle up for the next installment next weekend (no holiday break for me). I’ll turn the tension up even higher. Thanks so much for reading and leaving a comment.

    5. I like the pace of this story. Now Bette and Tina need to find out who on the DEA might be helping the Cartel, could it be Prickhead?
      I don’t think Tina needs to worry about Her and Bette’s relationship because Music and Passion were always the fashion and they are in love.

      • bubcris1, FInding the right balance of fast-paced action and slower-paced emotional or sexy scenes is always a challenge for me. I went to countless drafts, mixing up the different scenes to keep the tension building, yet give you, the reader, a needed break from time to time. I guess I hit the mark with this version. Stay tuned next week to have your question answered. Thanks so much for reading. It means a lot.

    6. Hello CellaNox

      Loving this story. You’ve really got us on the edge of our seats awaiting the next twist and turn. I think Bette especially needs to slow down on trying to start a sexual relationship with Tina, she’s obviously not ready and all her visions of Avery telling her to go for it are to me all the more reason why she should slow down. I think adjusting to motherhood, allowing Reagan to get to know Tina, getting the adoption settled and being in a state of mind where they are not constantly in danger of losing each other might make for a better start to really explore their feelings and their future. Granted they had teen-age crushes but they don’t even know each other now and stealing moments in the middle of trying to bring down the cartel is exhilarating but it’s not sustaining.

      On a separate note, I noticed David didn’t tell Bette and Tina that he identified them to his father and that their families are in danger. Not sure how much he can be trusted withholding such critical information. I’m concerned about Reagan being alone expecting a social worker and it could be one of the goons, and of course everyone else that they associate with could be targets. Awaiting the next update. Thanks for a great book.

      • BAT2012, All great observations. David withholding that crucial bit of information will put their families at risk. Also, both women think slowing down would be the best thing. Get to know each other better, especially let Reagan feel comfortable with the situation. As we’ll see soon, sometimes events have other plans for us. I hope in the end, you think I’ve done the story justice. Thanks so much for reading.

    7. Hi CN:

      Great chapter, things are getting a little scary to read, thinking el Padrino’s people will be over Tina, Bette or their families any moment.

      Fortunately, so far, our fantastic couple has been ahead of the drug lord’s moves and now they are about to hunt el Padrino, but I still think there would be a counterattack by the drug dealer.
      I don’t trust much David Campos, many times (especially in certain families) blood is thicker than water, but revenge is sweet and David has a lot against her father.

      Happy that Reagan is reacting well about Tina, and happy that Bette is letting go about Avery; I know what it is, I’m familiar with the soft whisper of the dead ones; sometimes you need a push from them to keep going.

      I like how understanding is Tina with Bette, she already put her cards on the table, now is Bette’s turn to do the same, though we already know her cards.

      Despite they were separated for 20 years, the few intense months they have been together, have made them know each other deeply; I don’t think this feeling between them is just infatuation, I think they are really in love.

      Excellent chapter CN.

      P

      • proteonomics, Blood may be thicker than water, but some things are unforgivable. Padrino crossed that line and David’s eyes are wide open now. Regarding our favorite couple, they’re on their way. Yes, they’ve spent several intense months together, and despite their starts-and-stops, they’re on the right track. Thanks so much for reading and dropping a comment.

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